Saturday, 26 January 2008


When most people were celebrating Australia Day with sausage sizzle and cold beer, I had to sign up for a 5km open water swim at Scarborough Beach... about 16km away from my house.

My initial target was 1 hour and 30 minutes (average 1:48 per 100m), considering that I normally average about 1:30 for each 100m, that would give me ample of time to come under the target.

The race start time was 9am. I woke up at 7am to arrive at the beach at 8am for registration. Was given just a cap and no other goodies. Wah, races here really not worth it lah... I paid AUD30 for this race, you know!

I had plenty of time to do my stretches and even a warm up swim. The waves coming into the shore were quite strong. But I thought it shouldn't be too much of a problem as we would be swimming along the shore rather than against the waves.

The route is a 2.5km loop, 1.25km out and back, twice.

We weren't allowed to wear any watches, jewelery or any sharp objects. Sigh... and I was getting used to wearing my watch while I swim. I'll use it for my tri race next weekend then.

The start was the usual... had to manoeuvre a bit through the crowd. Number of participants who signed up were 158 according to the announcer, but less than that showed up. I guessed they had other better things to do.

It about 300m into the swim, that the waves started getting choppy. It was like swimming in a washing machine!

I followed this blue strip swim trunks guy most of the time. And stopped to check whether I'm still on course on several occasions. And also to clean my fogged up goggles. Good thing about swimming in rough open water is... even if you stop, you won't lose that much time as compared to continuous swimming. I managed to catch up with my pacemaker easily after each stop.

Reached the turnaround point, I was slightly ahead of blue strip swim trunks guy. But the trip back was a lot worse! Up and down... up and down... there were times where there were swimmers just in front of me and next... they couldn't be seen as they were carried by waves few metres above me!

I suffered a few stings from some unknown sea creatures floating around (not jellyfish)... near my arms and legs throughout the course. They were nothing too serious... the feeling went off after a while.

I began to feel to urge to pee... must have been the 600ml of Powerade I downed before the swim. I tried to ease myself... but somehow wasn't comfortable doing it. I soon forgot about it as I continued swimming.

1st loop done. By now, I have changed to a different pacemaker... a royal blue swim trunks guy. The waves were getting stronger. My fingers started feeling numb. And more mini stings. Yeah, didn't seem like I was having much fun.

Made the last turnaround and was eager to swim back. The rough water must have been getting to me... I started feeling seasick and almost threw up. I don't think it was due to the Powerbar Cookies N' Cream though.

Finally closing in to the finishing line... wobbled myself to the flags. There was a girl who was just right in front of me... but I was too tipsy to chase. Came in position 52. I checked my watch after that, and it seemed to be about 90-95 minutes past the starting time. Well, it's above my targeted time but I can't complain with these sort of conditions. Also, I haven't swam in open water for more than 2km before, so this is quite a good start.

But... don't think I would be doing such swims anytime soon. It's not exactly fun.

Off to dim sum now with SLBs. And to watch the fireworks tonight.

Happy Australia Day! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Golden Mouth no more

When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents used to call me kim chwee (golden mouth), meaning to say that I'm so quiet and hardly open my mouth... like as if there's a block of gold in it.

I do admit that I was one of the quiet ones in my class. I only started opening up when I was in high school, but also after getting to know my peers better. Yes... I take long to warm up.

I barely made any friends during my first two years at university. Thank God I went on a trip organized by the International Student Service (ISS) and made some friends there... friends who now form a crazy bunch that I hang out with regularly... there's never a dull moment with SLB!

Oh... and I found my soulmate from ISS as well... *wink*

At work, the usual comment at my performance reviews is to improve on my social presence. Like I said, I take a LONG time to warm up and I guess that after working with these people for more than 2.5 years now... I STILL have yet to warm up to them.

But this is going to change...

A book lent to me by my dad (thanks, dad!)... talks about how to improve your thinking and hence, become a more successful person... in a nut shell.

At first, I found the book a bit long whinded... kept on repeating the same thing... and wishy washy... using anecdotal examples from the U.S. which seemed unique to theindividuals mentioned and therefore, irrelevant.

But soon I found myself practising what it preached... the bits on getting to know people better... how to make your presence felt... by becoming a better communicator... and hence, a more likable character. (I'll work on the bits on contributing more to your work organization later :P one step at a time lah...)

Three examples of how this book has magically influenced me...

1. During Friday drinks, we had some new joiners in our division. Normally, I would just mingle with my usual group and never got to know anyone new. But this time round, I introduced myself to a bloke who just joined us from a small accounting firm... and later got to know that he was into swimming... and still holds the under 13 years old 100m freestyle record! Now, I'm pretty sure we would have more interesting conversations to come... and I have made myself a new friend.

2. Yesterday, while I was doing my groceries, I saw my swim coach shopping for some swimwear. I didn't think she noticed me. Usually, I would just walk past, hoping she REALLY didn't notice me (yes, I am THAT shy). But I went up and called her... found out that she was going for a holiday in Rottnest Island this coming week. I'm glad I spoke to her... now, I no longer appeared to be the OLD guy (I train with her squad... which are all high school kids) who comes and go without saying a word.

3. Just a while ago, I noticed my flatmate's digital camera being soaked in water. My flatmate and myself hardly talk... we live our own lives and only communicate when it's time to pay the rent or clean up the unit. So normally, I would not comment or mention of such things. But I went on asking him about his camera... and he said that it can be used underwater and... in fact, he just came back from snorkelling... he saw a large stingray and an octopus! See, just by asking him a simple question about his camera... lets him know I take a bit of interest in the things he does and not just knock on his door when I want my rental money or the unit cleaned.

I don't usually make resolutions. I'm a very comfortable being... and not a big fan of changes.


Monday, 14 January 2008

Real world

Back to Perth... back to work... back to training alone...

Going to have to get used to not having a nap after training...

It's hard to motivate myself on my own...

Despite the friendly people running along the same route in the morning...

Wishing you were here with me...

Pictures taken from

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy 2008!

2007 has come and gone... new year's eve celebration was fun... spent it with Darling and my brothers separated from birth, Zhen Yi and Tuan Chin. Had dinner at Euro Deli Shop, Damansara Kin and watched MULTIPLE fireworks over the city skyline from Kelab Golf Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, Shah Alam.

Haven't been updating my blog. It's always hard when there are so many things to do, friends to meet up with, FOOD TO EAT... good thing my weight is still maintained, hehheh.

Some key things I've done since I've got back...

Fraser's Trip with extended family, which included an extravagant dinner at Ye Olde Smokehouse (just the price unfortunately, the food and service wasn't).

Went clubbing in KL for the first time. I always find it too much a hassle, unlike in Perth.

Cyled with clip pedals for the first time in Putrajaya with my new pair of Shimano TR 30 bought from Joo Ngan for Rm338. I only fell once!

Ate a Rm12 tiramisu cake at Alexis, Bangsar.

Ate Wong Kok Char Chan Teng's specialty peanut butter toast at Citrus Park.

Had delicious seafood dinner at Pantai, Kayu Ara friends from high school.

Chose from 138 pancakes at Paddington House of Pancakes, The Curve.

Did a 12km swimming session thanks to Stingray coaches Cindy Ong and Allen Ong. Man, they're crazy! And to think that kids less than half my age had to go through the same session... with less than 3 weeks away from their Selangor Age Group swimming competition!

Sigh... holidays almost gone...